Friday, June 13, 2008

Getting To The Starting Of Touring With A Lost Taxi Driver

Upon reaching back to Los Angeles, I hung around the departure area of Tom Bradley International Terminal (upper level of the terminal), where there is a foodcourt on the 2nd level to fulfil my hungry stomach, while waiting for my parents' and sister's flight to arrive. Having been to the same foodcourt when we arrived from Singapore via Hong Kong to kill time to wait for our domestic flight to Oklahoma 3 weeks earlier, the foodcourt looked totally different now. The first time I saw the foodcourt, probably it was way past midnight already, only McDonalds was open out of like 10 eateries there. When I got there this time around, the eateries were all open and there were lots of people there. I had Celest and her family for company too. Coincidentally, her boyfriend, brother and brother's girlfriend were on the same flight as my family.

I managed to get my sister's SMS telling me that the plane has touched down already. As it would take some time to pass through the customs due to the long queues. I waited for a while before trying to call them. They were also trying to call me. Somehow, the handphone connections went kukoo for a while before we could finally get each other.
Celest's family kindly helped me jagah-ed my luggages while I went to meet my family downstairs. They were feeling a little hungry and so we went upstairs to the foodcourt. At the foodcourt, my dad say we should get an airport shuttle instead of a cab, go back hotel, cook instant noodles and share. And so we bade Celest and her family goodbye and we back downstairs to the arrival level to try to get a shuttle. It was late already, I'm kinda tired also and I was damn lazy to figure out how to get a shuttle to take us to Anaheim. After trying to figure out the not-so-automated booth for transport, accomodations, city guide, etc, I gave up and told my dad not to waste time and let's get a cab instead.
At the taxi stand, we saw Celest and her family as they were also leaving for their hotel. Finally, we got on a cab and were on our way to Anaheim. The cab driver wasn't that all familiar with the area and so were we. What was supposed to be a USD90 cab fare (stated on a few websites) from LA airport to our hotel turned out to be USD105 as we went up and down West Katella Ave and Manchester Ave looking for our hotel.
At the junction where he was supposed to go straight towards the freeway, but not enter the freeway and instead keep right on Manchester Ave to our hotel, he made a right turn twice. Maybe he was afraid of going back into the freeway and losing his way more. But no pain, no try, no gain right? When we ended up on the juction again, I specifically gave him instructions. He was unsure, so was I, who was already tired, cranky and ready to take the wheel even though I had no license. I guided him away from the freeway entrance by pointing out to him the big signage that said "Manchester Ave" and said let's try. And tada, me is genius and we found the hotel.
As a helpful cab driver with excellence customer service skills, he helped us in unloading the luggages out from the cab. When I handed him USD120, he asked me how much change should he give me back. For those who are not familiar with the tipping culture in the US, please do not scold the cab driver and question his math skills. The main reason is because he needs to know how much you are willing to give him as tip if you are. And so I told him to keep the change, secretly hoping that USD15 will be enough for his gas back to downtown LA.

And so we finally checked into the hotel at 1am in the morning. Thank God the genius me booked the entire package at Anaheim with Disneyland Resort, so we don't have to queue for tickets the next day nor buy tickets for Knotts Berry a few days later. Actually, there are a whole of of advantages in booking with Disney, which will be revealed bit by bit throughout the next few entries.

Disney magic coming right up!

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